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Five Years Ago: Bush's Despicable Eulogy for Paul Wellstone

October 27, 2007

Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Minnesota Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone. But while much of the liberal blogosphere has remembered Wellstone's fighting spirit, grassroots populism and prescient courage in opposing the war in Iraq, little attention has been paid to President Bush's despicable eulogy of Wellstone on that sad day.
As we learned five years ago, this president's smallness and partisanship even extend to the dead. Commenting on the tragic death of the popular Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone in an October 25, 2002 plane crash, this was the best Bush could muster for an opponent:

"Paul Wellstone was a man of deep convictions, a plain-spoken fellow who did his best for his state and for his country. May the good Lord bless those who grieve." [Emphasis mine]

Compare to that to his glowing words on June 27, 2003 for the late Republican Senator from South Carolina, the legendary racist and segregationist Strom Thurmond:

"Senator Strom Thurmond led an extraordinary life. He served in the Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star for valor and landing at Normandy on D-Day. He served his country as Senator, Governor, and state legislator and was a beloved teacher, coach, husband, father, and grandfather. While campaigning across South Carolina with him in 1988, I saw first hand the tremendous love he had for his constituents, and the admiration the people of South Carolina had for him. He was also a friend and I was honored to have hosted his 100th birthday at the White House. Laura joins me in sending our prayers and condolences to the entire Thurmond family. He will be missed."

In 1994, President Bill Clinton spoke eloquently of the late Richard Nixon, a man who disgraced the White House and sought to subvert the Constitution. President George W. Bush apparently felt decorum required no such tribute for the incorruptible Paul Wellstone.
For more, see "The Smallness of King George."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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